Collection highlight: L. H. (Lois Hattery) Tiffany Papers

Lois Hattery Tiffany was born on this day, March 8, in 1924, in Collins, Iowa. She received her B.S. (1945), M.S. (1947), and Ph.D. (1950) in plant pathology all from Iowa State College (University). She joined the Botany faculty at Iowa State as an Instructor (1950-1956). Tiffany was promoted to Assistant Professor (1956-1958), Associate Professor (1958- 1965), Professor (1965-1994), and Distinguished Professor (1994-2002). She also served as Chair (1990-1996) of the Botany Department. She retired from the department in 2002 and was named Emeritus Distinguished Professor.

Lois Tiffany (University Photographs box 1036)

Lois Tiffany (University Photographs box 1036)

Tiffany, informally known as “The Mushroom Lady,” taught mycology and botany classes at both Iowa State University and the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory. Her research included studies of fungal diseases of native prairie plants in Iowa, a 10-year survey of Iowa’s morels, and a study of the fungus flora of Big Bend National Park in Texas. She also participated in the Midwestern mushroom aflatoxin studies of both corn and soybeans. Her continuing commitment to research led to the naming of an Iowa truffle in her honor. The fungus, named Mattirolomyces tiffanyae, was discovered in 1998 in several locations of Story County’s oak woods.


Tiffany also made great advancements for the place of women in the sciences despite the challenges of sexism in the early years of her career. She was the first woman president of the Iowa Academy of Science, the first woman president of the Osborn Club, and the first woman scientist in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to be awarded the title of Distinguished Professor.

Botanical specimen container used by Lois Tiffany (Artifact collection 2011-197.01)

Botanical specimen container used by Lois Tiffany (Artifact collection 2011-197.01)

Read more about Lois Tiffany in the Ecological Society of America’s recent blog post. We hold her papers here in the University Archives.

CyPix: Balance Beam Brilliance #TBT @CycloneGYM

In recognition of the Women’s Gymnastics Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series match tomorrow, here’s a pic of women’s gymnastics from our University Photographs.

ISU gymnast on the balance beam circa 1991 (University Photographs box 2018)

ISU gymnast on the balance beam circa 1991 (University Photographs box 2018)

The Iowa State women’s gymnastics program began as a varsity sport in the 1973-1974 season.

The Cy-Hawk Series dates back to 2004. In the series ISU leads Iowa at six titles to five with ISU winning the most recent series during the 2014–2015 school year.

Come drop by and visit us to see more University sports pictures! We’re open Monday-Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

National Nutrition Month!

National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and held annually in March.

What better way to kick off National Nutrition Month than to take a look at the Food Science and Human Nutrition history here at Iowa State University.

The Food and Nutrition curriculum was a part of the domestic economy courses of 1872. Mary B. Welch was the organizer and head of the Department of Domestic Economy at Iowa State from 1875 to 1883. Mrs. Welch taught from her life experiences and self-study, as well as from her study of cosmetic science at various institutions. She was also the wife of Adonijah Welch, the first president of Iowa State College (University). You can view some of her papers and her cookbook online in our Digital Collections.

Mary Beaumont Welch (University Photographs box 50).

Mary Beaumont Welch (University Photographs box 50).

The Department of Household Science was established in 1918. Food and Nutrition first appeared in the college catalog in 1924-25 under the Home Economics program.


page 176 from the 1924-25 college catalog

Vitamin research lab 11/13/1928 from box 961 University Photographs

Vitamin research lab 11/13/1928 (University Photographs box 961).

The name was changed to the Department of Food and Nutrition in 1953. The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition was created in 1991 as the result of the merger of the Departments of Food and Nutrition in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences and Food Technology in the College of Agriculture. The merged department was jointly administered by both Colleges. The department offered courses in consumer food science, dietetics, food science and technology, and nutritional science.

Box 961 from University Photographs

Dietetics senior trip to Rochester (University Photographs box 961).

On July 1, 2005, the College of Education and the College of Family and Consumer Sciences combined to become the College of Human Sciences. The planning phase of the combination was completed in the fall of 2004. The department continues to be jointly administered by the College of Human Sciences and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Box 968 from University Photographs

Nancy Peck, Food and Nutrition graduate, teaches course in food preparation (University Photographs box 968).

CyPix: Seal of Disapproval #TBT


A zoology student approaches a rather grumpy seal, 1969 or 1970. University Photographs, Box 608

A zoology student approaches a rather grumpy seal, 1969 or 1970. University Photographs, Box 605

It may be surprising that this land-locked university has a photograph of a marine mammal in the archives. Nevertheless, we do! The photo above comes from the Department of Animal Ecology photographs, RS 9/10. The Department of Animal Ecology separated from the Department of Zoology and Entomology in 1975, which explains why the student above is labeled as a zoology major. I’m not sure what exactly is happening in this photo, but this student is doing some sort of research involving this seal – and the seal doesn’t seem very happy about it (rest assured, the seal is not being harmed).

Interested in other animal-related photos? Stop by or contact us and we can help you out!


Our unique copy of Guide to the Mushrooms

Cole, Emma L. Taylor. Guide to the Mushrooms. C.K. Reed, 1910.

ISU Parks Library Special Collections and Archives has a unique copy of this book: it was “extra-illustrated” by a previous owner. The customization of books has a long and varied history, and was sometimes taken to surprising extremes, with little or no regard for preserving books (even rare or costly ones) as issued. The great libraries of the world have collections of extra-illustrated and “Grangerized” books created by noteworthy and talented persons.

In the case of our Guide to the Mushrooms, the extra illustrations are 117 amateur watercolors of most or all of the mushroom species covered by the book. About 150 additional pages have been glued between the original 206 pages. The extra-illustrator also augmented the text by adding species entries, expanding the indices, and so on.

Figure 1

Figure 1. Here, the extra-illustrator added flair to a previously blank space.


Figure 2

Figure 2. The book’s front paste-down endpaper.

We aren’t completely sure who extra-illustrated this book, but the name, address, and upper-right note appear to be in the same hand, so maybe Mark M. Maycock was the artist. The penciled inscriptions were probably made by a bookseller, perhaps the same one who affixed the little label.

All of these elements are provenance evidence — copy-specific information about a book’s origin, history, and owners. The provenance of rare and/or valuable books is of great importance; in other cases, the information may be of interest to a select few people (family, scholars, librarians, or archivists).

Figure 3

Figure 3. Note the page numbering at top left and right.

The extra-illustrator glued in about 150 pages (about 75 leaves of paper) and wanted them to have numbers, too. His or her solution is evident above (FIG. 3): the sequence is 112, 112-1, 112-2, 113, and so on. If these details seem less than noteworthy, well, perhaps they are in this case. The fine points of most books’ typography, construction, and condition are of little to no concern; but, as with provenance evidence, precise physical description of the most important books is greatly appreciated by scholars and collectors. Their work sometimes relies on it — for example, to determine the authenticity or completeness of a copy, or to establish the correct or definitive version of a text.

Figure 4

Figure 4. Another scan from the book, just for the fun of it.

In-recataloging this book, I took special care to make notes about what makes ISU’s copy unusual. We’ll never find out who is interested in such things if we don’t describe them! Here’s a link to the book in our library catalog. If you want to see ISU’s extra-illustrated copy of Guide to the Mushrooms, visit us at the Parks Library Special Collections and Archives. If you want to see the book as issued, a complete scan is available online.

CyPix: Manning the press

Before the advent of computers, students working for the Iowa State Daily–and, indeed, anyone working for a newspaper or printing press–had to set type by hand. In the photograph below, we see two men checking columns of type that have been set for printing.

Leo Mores and student, undated. University Photograph Collection box 1660.

Leo Mores and student, undated. University Photograph Collection box 1660.

The back of the photograph informs us that the man on the left is Leo Mores. Mores was a graduate of then-Iowa State College (1938) who shortly after graduating purchased the Harlan (Iowa) Tribune, and in 1945 also purchased its competing paper, the News-Advertiser.

This photograph is from the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication (RS 13/13). The second man is likely a student, who may have been working with Mores at one of his Harlan newspapers.

Iowa State Ties for Valentine’s Day: Love stories beginning at Iowa State

Valentine’s Day was this past weekend, and some of you may have thought about where you met your significant other.  Was it here at Iowa State?  If it was, you are definitely not alone, and some of those stories are documented here in the University Archives!

You may recognize at least one person, since his name is on a building:  Samuel Beyer.


Samuel Beyer in his office, 1925 (University Photograph Collection, 13-2-A, box 1020)

Instructor and professor of Geology and Zoology here at Iowa State (1891-1930), Beyer met his wife, Jennie Morrison, during his senior year and they were married in 1893 after her graduation.  In addition to his faculty and administrative duties, Beyer was dedicated to Iowa State athletics and is credited with bringing Homecoming celebrations to Iowa State. He was also instrumental in organizing the construction of State Gymnasium and Clyde Williams Field. (To find out more about Samuel Beyer and what is in his archival collection, see the online finding aid to the Samuel W. Beyer Papers).

Library staff, 1931-1932

Library staff, 1931-1932. Elva is in the second row, second from the left. (University Photograph Collection, 25-1-D, box 2040)

Other stories of people meeting here at Iowa State are scattered in various collections.  Some of these we know about, others are yet to be found in diaries, scrapbooks, correspondence, news clippings, and the like.  For instance, the first extension agent in Utah, Arvil Stark, met his wife here at Iowa State.  This love story began not far from where it is documented here in the University Archives (in their son’s alumni file, RS 21/7/1, Craig Stark).  Arvil Stark attended Iowa State, and received his Ph.D. in horticulture in 1934.  Elva Acklam Stark received her library degree from the University of Wisconsin, and her first job was here at Iowa State’s library.  Elva and Arvil met at the library when Arvil was checking out books.  According to their son Craig Stark, “My Dad took my Mom apple blossoms from the Horticulture Farm and they fell in love at ISU!!”

Interested in hearing about others who fell in love here at Iowa State?  Although not all of these love stories are documented here in the University Archives (and some may be), you can read more stories collected by the Iowa State University Foundation here.

100 Years of Cyclone Wrestling


Last week marked the 100th anniversary of wrestling at ISU.  In celebration, the library presents “100 years of Cyclone wrestling” – a digital collection of images from the wrestling program’s past.

More images and other historic wrestling materials can be found in the following collections located in the Special Collections and University Archives Department (room 403, Parks Library):

Cypix: Sweet tradition!

One way Iowa State University coeds celebrated meaningful relationship milestones was to throw a surprise party with a fancy candy box and decorate with candles, flowers, printed napkins and party favors. The size of the candy box grew with the importance of the occasion. If a young woman received a fraternity pin, it was a 2 pound party, engagement announcements entailed a 5 pound party, an upcoming wedding was a 10 pound party, and the announcement of a baby was a 15 pound party.


5 pound Engagement Announcement party, Feb. 14, 1954, Mary Glenn from Delta Zeta and Dwight Youngkin from Kappa Sigma. University Photographs RS 22/11/G box 1696.

Sources also indicate that the five and ten pound parties were at some point tied in with candle passing. At these gatherings a candle would be passed among a circle of coeds and whoever blew out the candle was the one throwing the party. If she handed out a five pound box of candy it meant she had been pinned and a ten pound box meant she was engaged to be married.

Come visit us and learn about other Iowa State University traditions! We’re open Monday-Friday from 10-4.

Black History in Iowa

February marks Black History Month, or African-American History Month, in the U.S. and Canada. It’s true that the population of Iowa is mostly white, and African-Americans only make up about 3.4% of the state population. One of the largest (if not the largest) populations of African-Americans in the state is centered in Iowa’s largest city, Des Moines, making up 10.2% of the population of the city. African-Americans first started migrating to Iowa and Des Moines in the 1800s. Since then, there has been a history of opportunity, but also prejudice and discrimination, like every other part of the United States.

In our film collection, we have a recording that discusses all of this, entitled Black Des Moines: Voices Seldom Heard. It was recorded in 1985, produced by WOI, and produced, narrated, and written by Verda Louise Williams. It’s available on our YouTube channel, and you can watch it here below (approx. 60 minutes). If you have the time, watch it. It reveals a lesser-known side of Iowa and examines the history of African-Americans in Des Moines, featuring interviews with people who lived it.

Admittedly, our collections largely document the white experience – likely due to the fact that most of our population is white. We do, however, try to document diverse experiences, and we have a subject guide devoted to that. Collections directly tied to the African-American experience include the George Washington Carver Collection (please also see the digital collection), the Jack Trice Papers (please also see the digital collection), and the Verda Louise Williams Papers (also linked earlier in this post). In addition, we have relevant records of student organizations and subject files, which can be found in the University Archives Subject Index.

We also have reference files regarding African-American alumni, faculty, and administrators of Iowa State. Contact us or stop by if you have any questions or want to see any of our collections!